FALMOUTH — There’s no shame in being beaten by a better side.

That was the sentiment expressed by first-year Mount View boys soccer coach Jeremy Von Oesen late Saturday afternoon, after his Mustangs had been handily disposed of by two-time Class C state champion Waynflete in the final. Von Oesen, as the head coach of both the men’s and women’s teams at Unity College, is familiar with players who excel beyond the ranks of the high school game. What he saw from the Flyers certainly fit the bill in their 4-0 blanking of a Mount View team making its first state championship appearance since 1980.

“They were brilliant,” Von Oesen said. “They’re extremely intelligent. They’re all very collegiate-like. They’re all at that intelligence level and that skill level. Great team, they really are. They deserve everything that they got. Our boys played hard and gave it their all, but at the end of the day sometimes your opponent is better than you.”

Von Oesen looked at the little things Waynflete’s side did so well. Up a goal fewer than four minutes in Saturday, the Flyers went to the bench. A lot.

“I counted 26 subs in the first half,” Von Oesen said. “That’s a lot of subs. And that’s smart.”

What that does is slow the game down at every turn. With Waynflete so comfortable in possession, knocking the ball around from side to side, from back to front, from front to back and every conceivable variation thereof, the Flyers weren’t worried about disrupting their own flow. So if Mount View started to find some rhythm of its own, the Flyers went to the bench for what amounted to a 30-second reset.

Waynflete also used tactical challenges extremely well, committing fouls in harmless areas to stall and Mount View counter-attack before it could find legs. And the Flyers’ decision making, with and without the ball, both in possession and in organizing its back line, surely needed to be commended.

Mount View’s Elijah Allen (11) battles for the ball with Waynflete’s Roan Hopkins in the Class C state championship Saturday in Falmouth. Portland Press Herald photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette Buy this Photo

All of it begs the question: Why don’t coaches mention more often the quality of an opponents’ I.Q.? They talk about size. About foot skills. About speed and ability and talent. Rarely, if ever, does a coach offer in pre-match opinions, “They are one of the smartest teams we’ll play all year,” or “They have the most intelligent player I’ve ever coached against.”

“I’ve got a great seat,” Waynflete coach Brandon Salway said. “They’re a terrific group. You can do a lot of things with them, and we’re tough to beat.”

The boys Class C state final was hardly the only place where intelligence manifested itself during the two weeks of postseason play.

In a Class B North boys prelim, Lawrence coach Bob Towne praised the breakout performance of sophomore midfielder Ethan Timmins for his two-goal effort in a 3-2 win over Maine Central Institute, noting that he’s been trying to get Timmins to be more unselfish. That come-from-behind victory was proof positive of a young player’s I.Q. growing before our very eyes.

Waterville’s Jayda Murray right, takes on Hermon’s Allison Cameron during the Class B North regional championship Wednesday in Hampden. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson

Commending a pair of holding midfielders ahead of the Waterville girls appearance in their regional final, Waterville coach Mark Serdjenian talked about the evolution of Lindsay Given and Jayda Murray — and how their understanding of the position came from seasons’ worth of grooming.

When the Maranacook boys ousted Mt. Abram from the Class C South tournament, Black Bear junior Tim Worster spoke about his influence on the game from a tactical perspective, noting the marking schemes the Roadrunners employed and where he recognized space in the midfield to influence the proceedings.

All of it adds up to players, in key roles in the biggest matches of the season, having their smarts outpace their skills to produce results.

 

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